Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision

2024 Competition: GSPA is currently reviewing the nomination package requirements and selection criteria for the upcoming 2024 competition (deadline Nov 12). Updates will be made to this page once the competition officially launches in late August.

Overview

Graduate student supervision requires complex interaction between graduate students and the graduate supervisor. Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA), in collaboration with the Graduate Student Association (GSA), established this award to recognize exemplary faculty members who have demonstrated excellence in graduate student supervision, through being a mentor, advisor, role model, humanist and a strategist who exemplifies a high level of energy and ingenuity. Normally, three faculty members will be recognized annually.

Value

Recipients of this prestigious award receive $1,000 (taxable) and a Waterloo crested-certificate.

Eligibility and selection criteria

  • at the time of being nominated, nominee must be a faculty member who is either tenured, on a tenure-track, or retired;
  • nominee must have had a career in academia as a faculty member for at least 10 years;
  • nominee must not have previously won the award within the last 10 years (they may be re-nominated after this time);
  • preference will be given to those who have been faculty member at the University of Waterloo for a minimum of five years;
  • nominees should have an outstanding supervisory record by exemplifying several of the following qualities as a supervisor:
    • Supervisor as an advisor:
      • effective guidance and planning of graduate research for his/her students;
      • established mechanism for ongoing interaction with graduate students;
      • timely reading and provision of feedback on students' work;
      • maintaining his/her role as an advisor while instilling independence among his/her students;
      • fostering and facilitating students' skills for problem solving, critical thinking, self-directed learning and effective communicating;
      • promoting dissemination and presentation of student's research result
    • Supervisor as a humanist/mentor:
      • commitment to students’ welfare;
      • provision of caring atmosphere to the students;
      • willingness to provide guidance which may not be related to academic matters;
      • providing guidance related to student career goals

Nomination process

Nominations are initiated by a current or former graduate student (known as “nominator”) who is/was directly supervised by the nominee (faculty member). The nominator must solicit support from other past and present graduate students of the nominee who have had the opportunity to receive guidance or informal mentoring from them. Additionally, the nominator must solicit support from senior academic colleagues (e.g., Chair or Associate Chair/Graduate Officer of the Department, Faculty Dean, Faculty Associate Dean).  

Once sufficient support has been obtained, the nominator must put together a nomination package and submit it to the Department Graduate Co-ordinator of the nominee's home department by the deadline - see Nomination package components section below for details. 

A total of 10 supporting letters are permitted (minimum of 1 but no more than 3 letters from senior academic colleagues; the remainder of the letters can be from current/previous graduate students up to the maximum). In order to generate the strongest nomination package, nominators are welcome to solicit extra letters, but only 10 may be included in the final nomination package.

Nominators can choose to either notify the nominee that they are being nominated, or nominate them privately. In either case, nomination package materials, including the list of letter writers, must remain confidential and not be shared with the nominee under any circumstances.

Unsuccessful nominations will be kept in the department or Faculty for one year and can be re-nominated the following year. To re-nominate the following year, nominators must check with the department or Faculty as appropriate in order to access the package that was submitted (new letters may be added or can replace existing ones).

Nomination package components:

By November 12 (or the preceding Friday if the deadline falls on a weekend), Nominators must submit completed nomination packages to the Department Graduate Co-ordinator of the nominee's home department. 

Preparing nomination packages: Nomination packages should be submitted as .PDF files only. Nominators should download the Section Title Page Template [refer to the Helpful Resources and Forms section]. Once the relevant information has been added to the title pages, those pages should be converted from .docx to .pdf. If you require assistance with merging the section title pages into the main PDF nomination package containing the CV, letters and lists, please request assistance from the Department Graduate Co-ordinator of the nominee's home department. Do not embed the .pdf files into the .docx file. 

Nomination Package Contents

Nomination Form

Download and complete the Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision nomination form

Section 1

Section title page - use the Section Title Page Template [refer to the Helpful Resources and Forms section] +
Nominee’s CV

CV can be obtained by:

  • checking the nominee’s web page [if applicable];
  • contacting the Department Graduate Co-ordinator of the nominee’s home department;
  • asking the nominee for it if they are aware they are being nominated for this award

Section 2

Section title page - use the Section Title Page Template [refer to the Helpful Resources and Forms section] +
Supporting letter(s) from senior academic colleagues* (minimum of 1 and no more than three)

  • Complete the table included in the section template
  • Examples of senior colleagues includes Department Chair or Associate Chair/Graduate Officer, Faculty Dean, Faculty Associate Dean, faculty members who serve on advisory committees with the nominee; in other words, someone who has had the capacity to observe the competencies of the nominee and can provide support and validate the nominee’s working relationship, supervisory style and commitment to their students.
  • Supporting letters should describe the outstanding supervisory record of the nominee as per the selection criteria.
  • Letters must be signed

Section 3

Section title page - use the Section Title Page Template [refer to the Helpful Resources and Forms section]  +
Supporting letters from current and/or prior graduate students* (the maximum number of supporting letters should not exceed 10 when combined with letters from senior academic colleagues)

Supporting letters should describe the outstanding supervisory record of the nominee as per the selection criteria.

  • Complete the table included in the section template
  • The nominator is permitted to write a letter and include it in the package
  • Letters from current undergraduate students are not accepted;
  • Letters from current/previous postdoctoral fellows are not permitted unless the nominated faculty member was also their PhD supervisor;
  • Letters must be signed

Section 4

Section title page - use the Section Title Page Template [refer to the Helpful Resources and Forms section]  +
Details of current and previously supervised students

  • Complete the table included in the section template
  • Separate the list of students by Master’s, Doctoral and Postdoctoral students (students who were supervised during multiple degrees may be listed multiple times);
  • A list of previously supervised students can be obtained by:
    • checking the nominee’s web page [if applicable];
    • contacting the Department Graduate Co-ordinator of the nominee’s home department;
    • asking the nominee for it, but only if they are aware they are being nominated for this award

*A total of 10 supporting letters are permitted (minimum of 1 but no more than 3 letters from senior academic colleagues; the remainder of the letters can be from current/previous graduate students up to the maximum).

The majority of the letters in the submitted package must be from the University of Waterloo, not other institutions.

Important dates

**When the advertised deadline below falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the deadline date is the preceding Friday. 

Date

Deadline/Activity

November 12**

Deadline for nominator to submit nomination package to Department Graduate Co-ordinator of the nominee's home department

November 12**- [Faculty-set deadline]

Department Action:

  • Department collects all submitted nomination packages and conducts a review and ranking
  • Department prepares one cover letter from the Department Chair (or senior level designate) for the packages being submitted to the Faculty. The cover letter should highlight key points in the supporting letters and a ranking if there is more than one nomination going forward from the department
  • Department submits packages to Faculty by Faculty-set deadline
  • Department communicates with nominators to advise if their nomination package is being sent forward to the Faculty or not

[Faculty-set deadline] – December 11**

Faculty action:

  • Faculty collects all nomination packages submitted by Departments and conducts a review and ranking
  • Faculty prepares a separate cover letter indicating their rankings and uploads it along with nomination packages (up to Faculty nomination maximum) to GSPA by December 11**
    • The Department cover letter should be removed and not included in the submission to GSPA
    • The Faculty cover letter should only contain a ranking and should not serve as a supporting letter
  • Faculty communicates with departments to let them know the status of their nomination packages

December 11** –
Mid-February

Institutional selection committee to make final selections; GSPA to communicate results:

  • GSPA will notify nominators of results (for nominations sent forward by Faculties)
  • GSPA will notify winners and will include a formal letter of congratulations;
  • Results will be published via standard university communication channels (i.e. Daily Bulletin, Department and/or Faculty websites)

Faculty nomination maximums

Each faculty may submit up to the following number of nominations to GSPA:

Faculty

Maximum #

Health, Environment

2

Arts, Engineering, Mathematics, Science

2

Institutional selection committee

All nominations will be reviewed by an institutional selection committee comprised of the following members:

  • Associate Vice-President Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs or designate
  • Advisory Committee on Scholarships & Awards (comprised of faculty members from each Faculty)
  • GSA President or designate 
  • One faculty member nominated by the UW Faculty Association

Helpful resources and forms

Questions regarding this award can be directed to the Co-ordinator, Graduate Financial Aid & Awards in Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs.

Last updated: September 15, 2023